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Comment Re:Germany has shifted from Nuclear to Coal (Score 1) 461

Because those solar panels drop to 0% of their maximum rate over the course of 1 day, right? Come on, man.

There's nothing special about the number 50%, except that it's easily recognizable as a sizable amount for a large economy. It's not unreasonable to expect a mixture of energy technologies, but a changing mixture is news.

Funny, it very likely did drop to 0% over the course of one 24 hour day. Nachtzeit.

The changing mixture is news or it really should be making more headlines: Rising German Coal Use Imperils European Emissions Deal

Bottom line is that German CO2 emissions are rising because of a switch to coal that solar and wind can't keep up with. So far, even with remarkable solar adoption in a short period of time this is a failed experiment.

Comment Coal is what is wrong with this picture (Score 1) 461

Germany is replacing nuclear with cheap high polluting coal. The solar is a PR stunt to distract from an unmitigated environmental disaster being perpetrated in the name of environmentalism. Is climate change a bad thing or not, because if it is then they need to start those nuclear power plants back up.

Comment Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

"Now" is misleading in that context.

More than just misleading unless the headline was written at the moment it was true. 50% for a few moments when the sun was at its peak is great, don't mean to rain on the solar parade, so to speak. But if it was 50% for a few minutes on a cloudless day in Summer when the Sun was at its highest in the sky... then the stories are lacking a critical piece of information to judge the overall progress towards greener energy... Like what is the actual percentage of power over a realistic period of time? So, what was the percentage over the past month or last month for instance?

All I've heard so far is that they have primarily replaced nuclear power with coal which is a terrible situation for the environment and health. And it appears that Merkel is basically covering up the fact that the knee jerk reaction to eliminate nuclear power has been an environmental disaster with very real negative health, environmental and Climate change effects all to eliminate an energy source with very little risk and a huge environmental benefit compared to all other energy sources.

Comment Customers are getting fraudulently double dipped (Score 1) 270

If we wanted to go back to AOL's gated network of the 1990s we would invent a time machine and cover it with AOL CDs.

We the customers are paying for a certain amount of bandwidth to the Internet and we have long since paid for the build out of the Fiber Optic network infrastructure through our monthly payments. It is simply fraudulent to be charging customers a fixed price for bandwidth and then effectively limiting peering to other networks so as to create an incentive for other networks and content providers to pay off the Telecoms to provide that telecoms customers their content as a service... these are services we as customers are already ostensibly paying for or are requesting. It isn't like a content provider can turn on your computer or tv and make you download their content... the Internet is primarily about end users initiating some communication and either the computer on the other end responds or not. Verizon or Comcast sitting in the middle and deciding which communications should get a fast lane based upon who has the most cash is just a bad way to run a communications network and a bad way to regulate a free market.

Sure transparency in what kind of peering arrangements telecoms have with other companies all contracts regarding quality of service or internet connections could be useful for regulators who might have the time to spend years sifting through all that paperwork to figure out what is good for the free market or not, but it is no substitution for net neutrality which would assure customers that they are actually getting the bandwidth and good faith service they are paying for rather than perniciously getting fleeced at both ends with service that the telecoms feel free to effectively throttle down whenever they feel like it despite apparent contracts with their customers to provide a certain level of service.

Comment Re:"The Internet" (Score 1) 209

That is true, that's why campaign finance reform is not a magic bullet. Another necessary change is term limits for all of Congress, so that we can replace career politicians with civilian public servants, as it was meant to be.

I might agree with you if you also term limited other public officials and even low or mid level bureaucrats. The real power in Washington is the Bureaucracy which can outlast any single administration or any 8 years of Congress. The entrenched interests are not limited to the elected politicians, but all the individuals that make careers out of government money, government contracts and playing the system. It can take years or decades to fathom just part of the Federal Bureaucracy, let alone be in a position to make decisions over regulations, oversight and spending.

Comment Government money corrupts, not just PAC money (Score 1) 209

The problem to me seems that regular folks don't seem to understand or care (or think they can do anything about) creating a system of government where the rule of law prevails instead of the rule of committees, boards and commissions. There is a difference between the rule of law with people executing that law and a law that simply abdicates to the discretion of men and the corrupting influence that it has.

Comment Re:Another Congressional shell game. (Score 1) 164

Congress as an institution which contains people from around the country that people have never heard of and they didn't vote for. Obama on the other hand a lot of people voted for directly... I agree that Obama's approval ratings should be low since he has flip flopped on some major campaign positions like Obamacare and seems to be supporting some very unpopular policies like warrantless surveilance on Americans that he had previously opposed as a candidate and US Senator.

Comment Re:Index it to inflation (Score 1) 619

It is perpetually deficient because there will never be enough resources for all the projects people can dream up. You can always argue for more or less, but the beauty of indexing the gas tax to inflation is that it simply keeps the gas tax the same in real dollars. In that way you can better gauge whether maintaining and expanding the road system is really getting more expensive or not. So to me the greatest benefit is transparency and a better baseline understanding of how the transportation budget is changing over time taking inflation out of the equation.

To me the real battle and threat here is that there is a steady move towards funding the police surveillance state that we are constructing with highway money. Yes, fuel efficiency, hybrid and electric cars are going to reduce gas tax inflows which will need to be offset somehow in order to maintain steady funding for highway maintenance. But the solution of installing a network of monitoring devices to track everyone's movements and send them a bill based on where they drive is an over engineered, over priced and overly intrusive solution to a simple problem. The government could more easily in fact just charge a odometer tax without making us all pay for a electronic monitoring system. Or if you accept the fact that the transportation system is a broad public good, then the gas tax could simply be supplemented from existing more progressive taxes, like the income tax, without the need for an open road tolling system on all our highways and roads.

Comment Another Congressional shell game. (Score 2) 164

No wonder the approval rating of Congress is so low. They shamefully vote to extend the Patriot Act with 303 votes last month and this month they pass this toothless piece of distraction. This is a political stunt to try and mollify Liberty activists and not anything meaningful. They need to vote against the unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act and overturn any provisions that appear to give the government broad authority to force companies to hand over telecommunications data.

Comment Re: Index it to inflation (Score 1) 619

Never ending cycle of inflation versus what alternative? Right now we have these periodic very large gas tax increases to catch up with inflation followed by years of decline in the buying power of the Highway Trust Fund. I've actually just read a bit more on the proposal and they do propose indexing it to inflation... but only after increasing the tax by 65% to catch up with inflation over the last 20 years. Basically the choice is to either have it indexed to inflation or else have these periodic hyper increases to catch up with inflation anyway.... or come up with another tax system.

Of more concern would be the proposal to introduce an expensive and intrusive open road tolling system to track all our movements and charge us a per mile tax.

We don't need open road tolling if there is a mileage tax... we all have odometers and we can read and I know at least in my state we have yearly odometer readings and odometers are read whenever cars are sold or registered, so there isn't any reason why we can't just read the odometer and pay a tax instead of having all our movements tracked by a multi-billion dollar electronic tagging system which really infringes on our privacy also.

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